Research Assistant, Defense Program

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks to hire a Research Assistant (RA) to support the Defense Program. Candidates with project management, event management, and scheduling experience, as well as familiarity with the defense budget, DoD processes, and data sets are strongly encouraged to apply. Please note that this is not an area studies position.

The RA will be expected to perform a variety of tasks outlined below. The following is an overview of primary responsibilities; other tasks may be required and responsibilities will vary over time.


Project Development and Management

  • Research on and familiarity with potential funders;
  • Proposal development in conjunction with Center staff;
  • Budget generation and management in conjunction with Center staff;
  • Donor engagement and liaison.

Event Design and Management

  • Formulation of event agendas including themes and speakers;
  • Drafting and sending invitations;
  • Management and updating of program contact lists;
  • Management of RSVP lists;
  • Setup, takedown, and logistics of events;
  • Coordination with outside speakers and their staffs;
  • Managing event budgets.

Publication Management

  • Management of outside authors;
  • Management of team publication schedules and deadlines;
  • Collaboration with Center staff to develop compelling graphics and data visualizations;
  • Strategy development for promotion of research among target audiences.

Other Administrative Tasks

  • Scheduling meetings and events;
  • Arranging business travel flights and accommodations;
  • Compiling expense reports;
  • Maintaining website program and project content.

Research and Analysis

  • Data collection from and analysis of government data sets, principally budget material;
  • Literature reviews and in-depth research;
  • Participation in engagements with external experts and practitioners including (non-resident) adjunct fellows;
  • Support with sourcing and citation in written materials.


  • Project proposals and grant applications with supervision from senior staff;
  • Interim and final grant reports;
  • Project and event descriptions for external facing materials such as the CNAS website;
  • Program newsletter;
  • Social media campaigns, in coordination with Center staff;
  • Opportunity for Op-eds, journal articles, and co-authored/authored CNAS papers and reports and short analyses such as commentaries driven by the news cycle.

Institutional Responsibilities

  • Participating in interviewing, employee orientation, and other personnel processes;
  • Attending internal meetings and representing CNAS at outside events;
  • Mentoring colleagues, formally and informally;
  • Networking, messaging, and outreach;
  • Staffing CNAS events and activities as needed;
  • Occasional travel.

Qualifications and Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher;
  • Experience researching, analyzing, and writing on national security and defense issues;
  • Willingness to administratively support the Defense Program;
  • Project management experience;
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • An ability to work collaboratively with others in a fast-paced environment;
  • General familiarity with military, Defense Department, and national security terms and research resources;
  • Strong writing skills, including good grammar and diligent self-editing and fact checking;
  • Good judgment, especially regarding the quality of data and competing information sources;
  • Strong multitasking and time management skills, as well as an ability to juggle multiple projects and competing priorities;
  • Willingness to maintain confidentiality;
  • Computer competency, including but not limited to Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint);
  • Legal right to work in the United States.


  • Master’s degree in relevant area of study (e.g., political science, international relations);
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in defense strategy and force planning;
  • Familiarity the defense budget and relevant data sets (e.g., J-Books);
  • Strong Excel skills.

About the Defense Program

The CNAS Defense Program does serious work on the most pressing challenges facing the Pentagon, presented in an accessible and practical way. We seek concrete impact on defense policy, both now and in the future. We are a trusted source in the U.S. defense ecosystem, producing high quality analysis and policy recommendations on implications of competition with China and Russia for U.S. defense strategy, military operations, defense budgeting, and institutional reform. True to CNAS values, the Defense Program selectively addresses the issues that require the most thought leadership, such as new operational concepts and chronic institutional shortcomings that hinder the United States from competing effectively with China and Russia militarily.

About CNAS

The Center for a New American Security develops bold, innovative, and bipartisan national security and defense policies that promote and protect American interests and values. Building on the deep expertise and broad experience of its staff and advisors, CNAS engages policymakers, experts, and the public with innovative fact-based research, ideas, and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate. As an independent and bipartisan research institution, CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow. CNAS is located in Washington, DC.

CNAS is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

CNAS abides by all Federal and District of Columbia employment laws.

To Apply

CNAS is accepting online applications only. Candidates must apply online using this link:

A complete application must include a cover letter explaining interest and qualifications for the position and a resume or CV. Writing samples may be requested.

CNAS abides by all Federal and District of Columbia employment laws. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.